AskDefine | Define retainer

Dictionary Definition



1 a fee charged in advance to retain the services of someone [syn: consideration]
2 a person working in the service of another (especially in the household) [syn: servant]
3 a dental appliance that holds teeth (or a prosthesis) in position after orthodontic treatment

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1

From retain.


IPA: /ɹɪ'teɪnə/


  1. A dependent or follower of someone of rank.
  2. A paid servant, especially one who has been employed for many years.
  3. Any thing or person that retains.
  4. A fee charged for services.
    This lawyer charges a retainer for his work.
  5. : A device that holds teeth in position after orthodontic treatment.
a dependent or follower of someone of rank
a paid servant, especially one who has been employed for many years
any thing or person that retains
a fee charged for services
a device that holds teeth in position after orthodontic treatment

Etymology 2

From retenir, to retain.

See also

Extensive Definition

A retainer can be:
  • an advanced payment of attorney fees
  • a vassal in feudal Japan, often Samurai providing military services
  • a person being part of the retinue (suite, train) of a dignitary, either performing personal services such as man servant, pageboy, bodyguard, or rather occasionally in proximity such as a minstrel
  • the part of a contractually due sum that is paid in advance, while the balance will only follow after receipt on the counterpart in goods or services; also called advance payment or deposit
  • Retainer (orthodontic device), a device in dentistry used to correct or keep teeth corrected
  • an individual, in civil proceedings, assigned to maintain assets of an organization; for example, in a lawsuit between shareholders, a judge may be asked to replace an executive who holds shares with a retainer if they believe there is a danger of the executive running the company into the ground
  • RFA Retainer (A329), an armament support ship
  • Retainer agreement, a contract between two people or companies where one pays to reserve the other's time. The agreement includes the salary to be paid, the period of time to be reserved (for instance, one week per month), and details on the type and scope of work to be done by person or company under retainer

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, adherent, allowance, appendage, assessment, bill, blackmail, blood money, dangler, dependent, emolument, fee, follower, footing, hanger-on, heeler, henchman, hush money, initiation fee, man, mileage, reckoning, retaining fee, satellite, scot, servant, shadow, stipend, tagtail, tribute, ward heeler
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